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Students Skip Class to Protest

Approximately 50 students walked out of Douglas County High School about 2 p.m. today to voice their anger at Georgia's new anti-illegal-immigration law, House Bill 87.

Approximately 50 students walked out of about 2 p.m. today to protest an immigration crackdown and Georgia House Bill 87, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.

The students gathered on either side of Campbellton Street with signs, T-shirts and a bullhorn, letting their feelings be seen and heard.

“Education not deportation” was one of the chants of the students.

"They’re out here saying they want education, and they're missing their reviews for final exams right now,” said Tim Scott, the principal of Douglas County High School. “I want them to do well in school. That’s what is important to me."

Scott stood near the protesting students but chose not to break up the group. He did, however, say school administrators were keeping track of which students were involved.

“I don’t want anything bad to happen,” he said. “I don’t want to escalate things.”

Scott said he knew about the protest in advance and was disappointed the students didn’t come to him first.

“They could have still done something,” he said, “and not interrupted their class time. If they would have asked for my input, I could have worked with them.”

Asked why they were out there, several students said they didn't know or wouldn't answer.

Jorge Lopez, a junior at the school, led the students’ chants by shouting into a bullhorn. Lopez wore a shirt that read "Undocumented & Unafraid."

Asked why the students were protesting, he said his education is under attack.

“I think everyone should get an education,” he said. “I don’t think being human is being illegal. Every student has the right to an education, whether you're undocumented or not.”

He said he did not care that he might be punished for his actions.

“Martin Luther King was arrested many times,” he said. “Eventually we will get our education and our future.”

The students were on the street for about an hour and were then escorted peacefully back into the school by the administrators and teachers.

"We need to show that we are the voice of the community," Lopez told his fellow protesters during the rally.

Among their chants:

  • "Hey, hey, ho, ho, H.B. 87 has got to go."
  • "Undocumented, unafraid."
  • "What do we want? Education. When do we want it? Now."
  • "Refuse the Georgia college ban" and "Refuse the ban."
  • "Hispanic power," "Student power," "People power" and "Latino power."

Approximately 100 students walked out of Lithia Springs High School on Friday, said Karen Stroud, the communications director for the school system.

“They walked about a quarter of a mile away from the school,” she said. “Then the principal went out and told them to come back, and they did.”

She said the students had been warned over the school’s PA system that they would face consequences if they left class.

She said the punishment for either walkout would depend on each student’s individual case. Students with a record of misbehavior could be dealt with more severely.

“We’re not allowed to talk about the punishment of a student,” she said. “It will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”

She said the entire range of punishments within the Douglas County discipline handbook could be used, including suspensions and extra work at school.

taxpayer_jane_doe May 31, 2011 at 02:51 AM
I spent today, Memorial Day, at a cemetery in Douglas County. They were having their annual Memorial Day service. There were a lot of people there, but just like you GaPatriot I saw no Hispanics attending. Not one. I am grateful to you and every member of our military for your service to our country and the many sacrifices that have been made for our freedom and protection. I will never take my freedoms for granted. It made me feel proud to see so many people at the cemetery today to honor our fallen veterans. At the same time it made me feel angry and resentful to think of the 50 youths demonstrating at our Douglas County High School, disrupting classes and chanting through their bullhorns: "Undocumented, unafraid" "Hispanic power," "Student power," "People power" and "Latino power." It's very hurtful to hear the demands of ungrateful immigrants who think they are 'entitled' to the freedoms our veterans gave so much to protect; simply because they managed to evade the border patrol and slither into our country illegally. It's hurtful to read about groups wanting to re-write our national anthem in Spanish. It's hurts my heart to see immigrants disrespect our flag on our own soil. On this Memorial Day I have no sympathy for their 'cause'. Illegal immigrants need to go back to their Homeland and wave their flag and chant their chants there. I agree with you GaPatriot. 100%.
taxpayer_jane_doe May 31, 2011 at 04:38 AM
"You never answered my question about your brilliant knowledge of the former name of Memorial Day being Amnesty Day" How dare you insult a veteran on Memorial Day. You should be ashamed of yourself . What kind of person would do that?
wigglwagon May 31, 2011 at 02:41 PM
"It would not make sense to allow Congress to pass laws to determine how an immigrant becomes a naturalized resident if the Congress cannot determine how, or even if, that immigrant can come into the country in the first place." Why not? The Constitution only gives Congress the authority to establish a uniform rule of naturalization and to prohibit the importation of such persons as the states think proper to admit. That is what the Constitution says. As you said, it would not make sense to think that one prohibition extends to permit Congress to force states to admit more people than the states think is proper. In fact, that one authority leaves the door open for sates to participate completely in the importation of people. I can only assume that what the Constitution refers to as the importation of persons is what we now refer to as immigration.
Lori Tomas May 31, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Wigglwagon, obviously you make good points there, but federal courts and conservative judges have upheld the federal interpretation. The only significant part of Arizona's law that has not been stopped is the everify portion. It has been the section deemed least likely to interfere with federal authority. States are not prohibited from making laws w regards to immigration but they cannot preempt federal laws. If you'll remember we already have GA laws that protect the state like the no welfare law and the no license laws. HB87 was a political move following Arizona. It will ultimately do no more than if we actually enforced the laws we already had.
Lori Tomas May 31, 2011 at 11:05 PM
You're so right. I'm an awful person. Just because GP claims to be a veteran I should give him free reign to insult me and a whole race of people on the day we celebrate the Soldiers who lost their lives in battle. 11% of US military are Hispanic. I shoudl never ask anyone who claims to be a veteran, who has accused me of "not kowing" a piece of history to explain to me why that piece of history not only conflicts with what he claimed but supports the opposing view. Instead I should let him rewrite history. I'm so ashamed of myself. Send me back to where I was born!

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